DEFIANT protestors were on the march against planned closures of public libraries across Essex.

Dozens of campaigners set off from Prettygate Library and walked the two miles to Colchester’s town centre library on Saturday.

Organised by national campaign group 38 Degrees, the march was the latest in a series of protests against Essex County Council’s plans to close 24 libraries.

A petition started by 70-year-old Bry Modridge, from West Mersea, has attracted more than 11,000 signatures.

Bry has long enjoyed her local library, which would be staffed by a “community or partner organisation” should the plans go ahead.

“I am over the moon with the support we have had, to see the petition go over 10,000 signatures is amazing,” she said.

“This is the third Saturday I have been on the march.


“Last Saturday I was at the Chelmsford rally, which was really well-supported, and the previous Saturday we had a demonstration at West Mersea.

“Lots of people who need to get to the library are elderly or else have mobility issues. We’re told to try not to use our cars, how else are many people going to get to Colchester’s town centre library?


“We also have 14 book groups at our library in West Mersea, as well as computers for people to get online and receive help from people with IT skills.

“I am worried there won’t be enough volunteers willing to give up the necessary hours to run our library.”


She added: “I can’t imagine a world without libraries.

“It’s all very well using a Kindle or something like that, but you can’t beat the weight of a book in your hands, the smell of paper and thumbing through the pages.”

The march was organised to show how far people living in Prettygate will have to travel to reach a library should the closures go ahead.

Campaign group Save Our Libraries Essex says petitions, both in paper and online form, have attracted more than 17,000 signatures.


The group is set to present the petitions to Essex County Council this afternoon.

A spokesman said: “Thousands more have joined protests across the county.

“This huge number of signatures has been collected and sends a message loud and clear to the council. The people of Essex are against this act of cultural vandalism. Our libraries must stay open.”


An online consultation into the proposals ends on Thursday.

Essex County Council wants to shut a third of its libraries, while it hopes volunteers will run others, in a bid to save £2million.


The plans show 19 libraries out of the 74 in Essex, including West Mersea, Wivenhoe, Stanway, Manningtree, Walton and Frinton, are earmarked to be run by community groups.